While on my mission I can be contacted at ashley.lynch@myldsmail.net

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

We Brought It With Us

Well,  this week I experienced frozen rain for the first time! Thankfully, it happened while we were sleeping but it looked really awesome when we woke up! And scraping the huge layer of ice off our car was really fun :)
We also did some fun maneuvers when we got stuck in the snow on the side of the road. We were very proud of ourselves when we got out all by ourselves :) We made quite the mess though haha.


Another first for my mission was walking a dog yesterday! There is a woman that we visit occasionally and she mentioned that her dog needed a walk but her health keeps her from getting out as much as she used to so we offered to walk her dog! It was so much fun :)
We had a really cool experience with one of the youth in our ward. Last Sunday we had a really awesome discussion about how we can help the youth. Well after that lesson we saw Sydney in the hall and we got to talk to her. It turns out she has a friend she would like us to meet! AND that she would really like to go out with us. So she spent part of an evening with us and it was so perfect! She received inspiration that day at school that she needed to share a specific personal experience and she did and was able to connect with our investigator on a personal level because of similar things they have faced in their lives. She bore such powerful testimony and it was such a tender experience. Youth are the best!

This week our District Leader received the inspiration that we should each study our Patriarchal blessing. In case you don't know what that is, it is the greatest thing ever! It is a blessing you receive that is very sacred and personal to you.  It is recorded and written down so you can study it throughout your life. It contains warnings, instruction, information about yourself and insight into how God sees you. It is basically the road map for your life. As I have been studying it I have been able to better understand who I am in God's eyes and who I am meant to become, which has given me such great strength. Part of the assignment has been to share some of those strengths we find in ourselves with our companion, and it was incredible how much the love and unity in our companionship grew after that exercise. As Sister Clark listed to me her divine strengths I noticed that all of them were things I already see in her. It made me realize that those divine attributes and qualities aren't something we are trying to attain in this life, but they were brought here with us. 
We were someone before we came here, and the purpose of this life is to choose to be that amazing individual again. Our responsibility here is to choose Jesus Christ and His ways in this life so that those qualities can be refined, so we can become who God intends for us to be.
I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, God's plan of happiness for His children. I am grateful for the trials and tests that I face in this life because it is evidence that I am ready for more growth. Every difficult thing we face, that is met with a righteous choice on our part, leads us one step closer to being the person God is anxiously guiding us to become!

I love you all, just keep smiling :)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Happiness Is A Choice

THIS WEEK WAS AMAZING!!!! It was so FULL of miracles! But sadly I only have time for a few.

I went on exchanges with the amazing Sister Nielson this week! I love exchanges so much! It is so fun to get to spend time with so many other missionaries and we seem to always see crazy awesome miracles! The biggest miracle was probably that we saw everyone in our plans and had really great, meaningful contacts with all of them. That doesn't happen, ever, so we were very excited. We had a focus that day to use the Book of Mormon in every contact and the miracles from that were endless! The Book of Mormon will help us get nearer to God than any other book and I know that the people we talked to that day felt that. One man wasn't even interested in learning more himself, but because of the testimony we bore he recognized it was the word of God and could help people, so he is going to give it to someone who can use it. How awesome is that?!
Most of the miracles we experienced this week came from Facebook! I am so grateful for this amazing new tool that we have been given to reach so many more people. It is amazing how when we use this tool, guided by the spirit, we will be led to those prepared to receive the gospel. I have been directed to so many people this week who have posted questions and concerns that can be directly resolved by the Restoration, and others have seen my posts and because of their reactions we have been able to see who is open to the message we share. Because of our diligent efforts in trying to be more effective with this new tool, we have been blessed to make contact with so many prepared people, and have started teaching two of them! It truly amazes me how the work of the Lord is hastening in our day.

Honestly, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions. I have seen that the amount of stress experiences is proportional to the miracles and personal growth experienced as well, and this week was no exception. I am still getting used to my new role as a Sister Training Leader, but loving every minute of it. In life when we are given a hard task we could just sit down and wallow, wondering why me and accept that we are going to struggle, but I think it is amazing that in those moments if we look around we will see that God has given us resources that are always more numerous than the task ahead of us. I am so grateful that God has reminded me of my divine worth and potential in these unsure times for me. He reminds me of that every time I pray, read from the scriptures and choose to look outside of myself. He has also given me a wonderful companion who loves me and supports me. He has given me inspired leaders to guide me in the right direction, even though they may not know on a personal level how much I needed the counsel they gave. The resources are always infinitely more, I encourage each of you to look for them.
Theme for this week: 
*Happiness Is A Choice* 
That is something God has been trying to drill into my head this week, and unfortunately sometimes I am not the best listener. But we learn from out mistakes and keep on trying!  We can choose to be humble enough to accept the Lord's will and love it! That choice is the most important one I make in my day.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and when life gets you down, just keep smiling! Love you!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Home of the Hills

My new home is Lancaster Ohio! It is the first place I have seen in Ohio that has not been incredibly flat haha. It is a great place and I love it already. The people here are so loving and feel like family, a lot like how Piqua felt so I think I am going to do just fine here :)

My new companion is the wonderful Sister Clark! Honestly, I have never met someone more loving. She is so sweet and kind and SO funny! She is taking good care of me and we have already had some great adventures together!
One of my favorite things happened the first night I was here. One of the first doors we knocked on was a great contact. We met an awesome guy who was interested in what we had to say, but in the middle of our conversation his cat bolted out of the door! So of course being the service oriented disciples of Christ we are, we helped him look for his cat. I'm pretty sure that's what Jesus would have done. We walked around in the dark for about half an hour with him with flashlights, and may or may not have been slinking through people's yards...that must have been an interesting picture. I am surprised no one called the police. Sadly we did not find his cat, but hopefully when we go back for his return appointment it will have come back. Service softens hearts!

This is our friend Starlee who greeted me upon my arrival.....It used to be an Elder's apartment and for some reason they got their hands on a deer and mounted it to the wall. It was just left there when it was no longer an Elders apartment, so it has since been Sister-fied haha.
Anywho, it has been fun getting to know all of our awesome investigators! We are teaching quite a few children which is really cool! On top of our normal missionary work, Sister Clark and I are serving as the Sister Training Leaders for our zone so we get to work closely with the other Sisters serving in our area! It has been awesome, and crazy, and a bit stressful. But definitely so rewarding already and I know that this is where the Lord needs me to be! And like I said last week, the Lord has felt everything we will ever feel and I know He is always right by my side to sustain me. And I am grateful, because I definitely need him every moment of the day.

I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever."
I read this everyday and it has been such a huge motivation for me!
We will be just fine as long as we love. Love the Lord, those around us and ourselves. It is the Love we have for Him that motivates us to keep trying. And because He loves us so perfectly, we can trust His guidance and believe that He will fulfill His promises. As we do these things we will grow to meet the tasks and challenges we face, with Heaven's help.
I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. He is mindful of each of us and always gives us exactly what we need, blessing and trial alike. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Just keep smiling!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

I'll miss ya, Piqua!

My heart is in Piqua, Ohio. It's not a very big place, or exciting place and probably wouldn't stand out to most, but it is full of wonderful people with big hearts, fantastic memories of mine and holds my heart. It is a place I have come to call home and I am sad to leave it. But after being here for 7 and a half months it is probably time for a change of scenery and I am excited for more adventures! I'm not sure yet where I am going, but like always, I know it will be exactly where the Lord needs me.

The only thing that will be as hard for me to do as leaving Piqua is leaving Sister Holdaway. By now you have probably realized that I love her a lot, but I'm going to tell you again :) She is my sister and one of my best friends. We have gone through so many wonderful, and not so wonderful things together and we are different people than we were four and a half months ago. She is a fantastic missionary, very bold and loving and knows why she is here! AND she is going to be training a new missionary! My baby is all grown up :')

This week was a little different because I was sick! It was awful. Luckily though I have awesome people to take care of me when I'm too stubborn to take care of myself, like momma Saunders who made me take medicine and my dear companion who basically had to force me to stay inside one day. Despite what may seem like setbacks we still experienced miracles this week! And thanks to online tools we have been blessed with, we were still able to have many lessons over video call and Facebook! 
Do I really have to take the medicine?
Anyways, there wasn't much else exciting this week. 
I wanted to leave you with my testimony of the Savior. I love Him! And I know He loves each of us! I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that He has felt everything I have and will ever experience so that He knows how to comfort and help me. He is ready and waiting with open arms to lift us up, embrace us and steady us when we feel we can't stand on our own. I am grateful for this matchless gift He has given us which allows us to have heavens help in our lives. I urge you to ALWAYS call upon that help!

I love you all, just keep smiling!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Anything But Just Another Week

Well, it's been another week. Life continues to move on. Just another ordinary week as a missionary, which honestly means it was anything but ordinary.
Every day is different, full of new people, singular experiences and miracles every moment.
This week I experienced something in Ohio I never imagined I would. A family from the Marshall islands and the Philippines invited us over for dinner and oh my goodness it was so good. I never imagined that the next time I would be able to eat that food would be on my mission in Ohio! haha 

Anyways, the work here in Piqua is still amazing. There are many people to teach and we find more people everyday!
Something that made this week exceptional though, and what I would like to talk about, is how perfectly God has organized His church. We recently lost our beloved prophet Thomas S. Monson. What an amazing man. He is the definition of a disciple of Christ, full of love, serving the individual, and always following the guidance of the spirit. It is sad to see him go, but nothing interferes with the Lord's purposes. It amazes me how leadership in the church transfers so seamlessly, but most things directed by God usually amaze me. 
I have an unshakable testimony that God directs this church. The doctrine contained in it is true, and we can trust that because there is a prophet, a mouthpiece for he Lord, on the Earth. That prophet's name is Russell M. Nelson and I am excited to learn and serve under his direction.
I love Jesus Christ! I am grateful that He chose to be my Savior. He is my friend, my support, my teacher, my example. I am grateful to be His missionary to help others come closer to Him.

3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
What a fantastic calling! I am grateful to have this commission, to have a living prophet to guide us there, and a Savior that allows us to receive that everlasting life!

Also, we just had the best day ever! We got to go to the temple with some of our favorite people :) I love the temple!

I love you all, just keep smiling!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Who Needs Me Today?

Today I would like to talk about the word "help." By definition it is to give assistance, be of service, and improve the condition of. Our purpose as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Half of our whole purpose is to help those we meet. Everyday we find ways to render service and help them improve the quality of their lives by giving them the tools to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a fantastic calling!
Lately I feel that I am truly understanding what it means to help, to give of myself for the benefit of others. This greater understanding is something I am so grateful for, because as I learn how to have greater charity I better understand the perfect love our Father in Heaven has for each of us as His children. Charity is a divine quality and as we strive to develop it we will inevitably become more like Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. I have never been happier, and I know without a doubt there is a direct correlation.

The reason there has been such a growth spurt for me in the development of this attribute is the insane number of people that the Lord has blessed us with to teach! We have been meeting so many prepared people, so many people who desire to make changes in their lives, who need what we have and know it. And it has been my pleasure to help them! Everyday that I have the chance to use capacity God has given me, and the greater capacity that He allows me to access, to help brings me true joy.

The highlight of my week was this Sunday, looking around me and seeing all the people that I love so dearly that we were able to help come to church. The purpose was not to have more numbers at church or any other trivial reason like that, but so they could come closer to their Savior by worshiping in the way He has directed and most importantly by partaking of the sacrament. I am so grateful to have such a singular and important purpose.

I know that as you go about your day with an attitude of "who needs me today?" God will lead you exactly where you are meant to be, to exactly the person who needs the help only you can give. 

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week! Just keep smiling!

Friday, January 5, 2018

One Decision At a Time

I bet you will never believe this, but this week was FULL of miracles! Didn't see that one coming did ya?
We probably had one of the best mornings I have ever had! In this weather (oh yeah, did I mention it's freezing? 

Outside Temp 1 degrees!
We are excited for the heatwave this Sunday, 30 degrees here we come!) not many people like us, and I am sure more people are home than answer the door. But the other morning we had put a particular street in our plans and had the faith to find! Well, did we ever.  The first house we knocked on was interested. It was actually really funny, she couldn't come to the door because she was holding their very big dog back, so we leaned inside and taught her. And she became a new investigator! Then the second house immediately invited us in (the frigid temperatures do have some benefits) and told us about some awesome spiritual experiences she has had in her life. She also was interested in our message and invited us back. THEN at the third house we met an awesome family. Their kids were so excited to see us and were telling us how much they love Jesus. I felt like a celebrity haha. They were busy but told us when we could come back. It is amazing how the spirit guides us to where we need to be. The first and only houses we knocked on that street were exactly who we needed to meet that morning!

I have to tell you about a very special family that I have come to love so very much. I told you a few weeks ago about the woman we met looking for a former investigator, who immediately let us in and recognized our message as an answer to her prayers. That is definitely in the top of my favorite experiences. Well we have continued to teach Jessica and now her children as well! I absolutely love her kids, they are the cutest things ever. Her daughters have started joining us for the lessons and the other night we brought them a Book of Mormon Stories book and they were so excited! They haven't stopped reading. Sister Holdaway and I were talking the other day about how we now have a better understanding of what it means and why it is important to become as a little child. Those girls ask the most relevant and insightful questions I have ever heard and they understand so much. Another experience that is one my favorites list was the other day when we were able to teach them about the Holy Ghost when one of them said "I just feel so happy every time you come over and I don't know why!" That was the best thing ever. They are truly a joy to teach. 
On top of loving to teach them we have built such a great relationship with their family. Her little ones are always excited for us to come over and they tell us they love us whenever we have to leave. It is so darn cute. Well yesterday was her son's birthday and they invited us to stop in for some cake and things, which honestly meant so much. It was a small gathering and when we got there we introduced ourselves to those we didn't know and there were a few confused looks. At one point, one of the guests asked Jessica "You said he had some friends coming over. Are those the friends?" pointing at us. She responded very quickly "well, yeah." As if his was a silly question. That made my day :)
They are just so special and I am excited to see just how much the restored gospel of Jesus Christ blesses their family!

Well, Happy New Year to you all! I would like to leave with a quote from the beloved Thomas S. Monson,
"There is no better time in all the world to make important choices than...at the beginning of a new year, for we literally become the product of our choices. Our choices determine our destiny."
May we all honor his memory by acting on his inspired words.
I would invite you all to ponder on the vision you have for this year, what you hope to accomplish and who you hope to become. My hope is that we will all make worthy goals and plans to accomplish that vision, so that one day our destiny will be to attain that divine destiny that is our Father's vision for us all.

Make this year a great one, one decision at a time! Just keep smiling!